With the announcement of the Hynix / Samsung joint work on MRAM and 450mm, it looks like there may be some government involvement in 450mm. The intent is to build the local equipment supplier base (on the 450mm effort) and ensure that royalties associated with 450mm stay in the country. Rumors are that the Taiwan goverment feels the same way – that more local suppliers should be in the market, and a potential 450mm disruption is the time to enter.
Considering recent comments from chipmakers on how simple and inexpensive the 450mm transition is supposed to be, one wonders if there really will be royalties on 450mm itself. Isn’t it a ‘simple-scaleup?’ The reality is that it is likely that suppliers in the US, Japan, and Europe have anticipated issues with a scale-up already, and even if most don’t believe it makes sense, will have abundance of thought and intellectual property ready for when a potential competitor tries to enter the market.
It reminds one of the large investment the US government put into EUVL through their Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Laboratories begining in 1997. There was an expectation that the physical limits of lithography were expected to reach an end by 2002. The intent of the program was to advance the technology for the good of the industry as well as also to help US Equipment suppliers as it was partially funded by the goverment. Hundred of millions of dollars were put into the effort. Likely, very few US Equipment suppliers will benefit as leading edge lithography companies are now mainly headquartered elsewhere.